HI, OBOE ENTHUSIASTS!
So, what do you know about me so far?
“Well, I know you’re an oboist.” Hey, we’re off to a great start! You already have a clearer understanding of what I do than my grandpa did at one point--he thought I played the tuba ;)
I like to say that it was because I just didn’t have the right instrument in my hands yet! At my very first violin recital I got up on stage, looked out at the audience, and burst into nervous tears. Luckily, my Mom was there to rescue me.
But did you know that I cried on stage at my very first music recital when I was five years old?
Did you know that I played hooky on my very first day of summer band camp as an incoming sixth grader?
I was so nervous about going to band camp that I pretended to feel sick so I could just stay home.
The next day, though, I decided it wouldn’t be so bad to go. The event I’d missed on the first day of band camp was an “instrument petting zoo” where each student had the chance to try out all of the band instruments with help from the different teachers there. In spite of all of my anxiety about the camp, my first day was an awesome experience!
Because I’d missed the first day, I wasn’t able to try out every instrument, but the oboe instructor was one of several who took the time to come help me try out her instrument. I remember exactly where I was when I first made a sound on the oboe! The instructor (who would become my private teacher for the next seven years) was so encouraging. She told me she thought I took very naturally to the oboe, and that I had the potential to become a great oboist. She made me feel so special that I decided to take her advice and play oboe instead of clarinet--which I had been planning to do because that was what my sister had played in middle school band.
Little did I know how that decision would affect the rest of my life! I am forever grateful for my teacher, who saw potential in me and helped my shy 11-year-old self to have the confidence to try something new and work hard to excel at it.
Did you know that I didn’t always want to be a professional musician?
When I was a senior in high school, my parents and several trusted mentors encouraged me to pursue a college degree in music, but I wasn’t sure I had what it would take or if it was what I would want anyway. I LOVED music and the experiences I was able to have as an oboist, but I wasn’t sure I’d want to put in the effort to make a career out of it. Honestly, I was scared of how difficult it sounded. I convinced myself it would be more reasonable to pursue a more “practical” career. So, during my first semester of college, I started classes toward a major in communication disorders so that I could become a speech therapist (something I still think I would enjoy), and continued taking oboe lessons and playing in campus ensembles as a music minor. I had a super solid plan.
THEN it happened. I realized how much music meant to me!
As I participated in lessons and ensembles, I realized how many more opportunities would be available to me as a music major--and how much I wanted those opportunities! The music building started to feel like home. I didn’t want the peak of my musical experience to have been in high school. I wanted to keep going! With lots of encouragement from the wonderful graduate oboe teaching assistant who gave me lessons that semester, I made plans to apply to the music program. That January, I auditioned for the oboe performance program and was thrilled to be accepted!
I was so blessed to have amazing teachers who guided me through bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in oboe performance. As a music student, I had some awesome opportunities to perform internationally, to learn from some of today’s best oboists in master classes and other settings, and to learn music that I never thought I would be capable of learning--to name a few!
Now, I’m still learning. But, thanks to 10 years of formal music training, I have a pretty good idea of how to learn so that I can continue to improve my playing and enjoy music for the rest of my life--and enjoy the opportunities that come my way as I keep working hard.
On tour with the BYU Wind Symphony
Performing with my oboe colleague in Italy
Playing "Squid Party" with my oboe colleagues at a school in Fukuoka, Japan
Do you know WHY I love being an oboe teacher?
This is a hard one to answer because there are lots of reasons. But the reason of all reasons why I love teaching is that I believe that every single person has the capacity to grow beyond what they’ve ever imagined. I love helping my students expand their vision of what’s possible. Even if none of my students go on to be professional oboists, I will have done what I set out to do if all of my students learn through oboe lessons that they are capable of doing whatever they set their minds to--so they might as well come up with some big, beautiful ideas.
And what better way to explore beautiful ideas than through music??
In case you're wondering about my professional credentials, here you go!
Dr. Charlotte Ethington, oboist, is an active teacher and performer residing in the greater Phoenix area, where she enjoys a wide variety of musical opportunities.
Charlotte teaches oboe and chamber music at Chandler-Gilbert Community college. She maintains a vibrant private oboe studio for students throughout Arizona, and is also in high demand as an oboe instructor and clinician at schools throughout the Phoenix Metro Area.
Recent performance engagements have included collaborations with the Arizona Bach Festival, Arizona Cantilena Chorale, Arizona Opera, El Paso Symphony Orchestra, Musica Nova Orchestra, The Phoenix Symphony, Prescott POPS Symphony, Tucson Symphony Orchestra, and West Valley Symphony, among others.
Dr. Ethington completed her DMA in oboe performance at Arizona State University in 2020, under the expert tutelage of Professor Martin Schuring, for whom she served as a graduate teaching assistant. She also completed a MM in oboe performance at ASU in 2017, and a BM in oboe performance in 2015 at Brigham Young University, where she studied with Dr. Geralyn Giovannetti.